Top Irish dart players set for Omagh this weekend

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Updated: April 1, 2014
DARTS O CONNER
For the first time ever in Irish darts, the cream of the Irish players on the PDC and BDO circuits will come together in one massive one day tournament.
The home of Northern Ireland darts Omagh’s Weigh Inn will open its doors on Sunday next ( 6th April) with over £5,000 in prizemoney up for grabs in the ”Weigh Inn All Ireland Invitational Grand Slam of Darts”

Firmly established as the premier venue for darts with a reputation for superb competitions and extensive prize pools the Omagh venue will host the best Irish players in this invitational tournament. 40 players from both pro circuits and a clutch of Northern Irish and Republic of Ireland internationals step up to the oche at 12noon on Sunday with eight groups of five all battling it out to become the top player in Ireland .

Speaking at the launch at the weekend Neechy Donnelly the tournament director spoke of the excitement that has griped the darts world since the announcement of the “invitational”

” We talked about this type of tournament for several years now and after checking the calendars of both the PDC and BDO tournaments the 6th April stood out, it would have been great for a two day competition but that was not feasible so we sent out the invites and within 24 hours the entrants were complete”

Donnelly has worked hard to establish the Weigh Inn and the reputation of the festival of darts has cemented it as a focal point for throwers from all over the UK, but this is an Irish first.

” I am delighted that we are going to bring forty of the best to compete for the title and prizemoney, the good news is too that 24 players will all take away money from Omagh at the weekend with a high quality subsidiary tournament also set to keep the interest going all day. We have eight boards and a special finals board, the venue will be at it’s best too and I want to thank all the local throwers, dart enthusiasts and of course our staff for their help and support”  enthused Donnelly as the countdown continued.

Players from Limerick, Sligo, Waterford, Larne, Belfast, Derry and Fermanagh will all go head to head, many familiar faces to anyone who follows the local, national, international and professional scene. Last years Irish open winner Daryl Gurney will be joined by fellow PDC challengers Brendan Dolan and one of Irelands finest Willie O’Conner. While Gurney, O’Conner and Dolan are already among the favorites they will have to be at their best with a raft of experienced throwers stepping up to the oche. Ireland’s top BDO player Michael Meeney, Newtownards nine dart specialist Kevin Burness, Republic of Ireland skipper Sean McGowan and Roscommon’s Dave Concannon confirmed their entries right away much to the delight of the organiser,

“To have the quality we have coming has to be a real threat to anyone who loves darts, Kevin , Willie, Daryl and Brendan are household names and are big attractions in their own right, but to have them all together is something we have always hoped for”

Sadly commitments away from darts prevented a handful of some of the invitee’s from making the trip to Omagh this weekend  and while that was a disappointment there is no doubting that the line up is possibly the best assembled at one tournament.

 Donegals Charlie Grant, Northern Ireland star Colin McGarry from Larne, John Elder from Ballymena and local man Felix McBrearty are all in the draw too, no doubt keen to avoid each other in the round robin series of games. The top two in each group will progress in the invitational which will continue to a finish on the day. The tournament is sure to attract a bumper crowd to the Kevlin Road venue, but as always is the case with big darts events at the Weigh Inn, viewers will be able to keep up to date with the action via the internet.
“We will stream all the action from the quarter final stages and we also have improved the sound quality too so anyone watching can follow the score better, we have learn’t as we have developed and I know there ill be a lot of UK and world wide interest in this tournament, I have already received messages from Holland and Australia about the streaming” said Donnelly who has already almost topped off his entries for the Summer festival of darts weekend..
This Summers Irish open is penciled in for the 15th-17th August weekend and as always the weekend will feature the open, the classic and the hugely popular warm up event the Friday shootout. This year 96 players will compete, up slightly on last year because of demand but as Neechy Donnelly explained he could have double that if he could,
” The weekend is huge, its a great boost too for the local economy, the players, their wife’s, partners and supporters all come to the town and stay in the hotels and guest houses, we have players from all over Ireland, the UK and beyond, I put up the entry list a couple of weeks ago and it was filled in hours, really we could have a couple of hundred players but at 96, its just about manageable”  laughed Donnelly.
The focus though at least for now is this Sunday’s event, the first players will step up to the oche at noon and the play could continue until late on Sunday night, the group draws will be made on Friday afternoon and will also be streamed live on the Weigh Inn website.or the
The excitement is mounting then for the “Weigh Inn All Ireland Invitational Grand Slam of Darts”  this Sunday and with that prize pot of over 5k up for grabs it could well be  worth the trip to the West.

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